Province targets illegal users of tax-free diesel
Published Tuesday, June 17, 2008 1:27PM EDT
Some commercial vehicle drivers desperate to save money amid sky-high gas prices are resorting to illegally using tax-free fuel, according to the Ontario Provincial Police and the provincial Ministry of Revenue.
Dyed pink diesel is tax-free and illegal for use in licensed vehicles that drive on Ontario roads. Farm vehicles and road crews are allowed to use the fuel, which is often delivered in bulk to rural homes. It can also be purchased at some service centres.
Representatives from the OPP and the ministry spent Tuesday at a checkpoint on Highway 12 in Durham Region, trying to nab drivers who were using the fuel on the highway.
Only one had been caught by noon on Tuesday, but the stops were to continue for two more days, said OPP Const. Dave Woodford.
Considering the wear and tear that trucks wreak on Ontario highways, it's important they pay tax to cover maintenance costs, he added.
"If they aren't collecting that tax they won't be repairing the roads," Woodford said, adding such blitzes will become a regular routine on roads and highways throughout the province.
According to the Ministry of Finance website, improperly using dyed diesel in Ontario can cost first offenders a $440 fine. Tampering with tinted fuel or related seals and labels can bring a fine of up to $1 million.
Drivers who refuse an inspection can be fined up to $1,000.